Sunday, 9:14 a.m.: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports that Holland is expected to give his answer today and all indications suggest that he is interested in the job.
Sunday, 8:11 a.m.: Late last night, Friedman signed off, reporting that Holland’s decision on whether to take Edmonton’s five-year, $25MM offer will come in either Sunday or Monday. If Holland does accept the position, Dave Tippett would become the lead candidate for the team’s head coaching job.
Saturday, 8:37 p.m.: Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported (via Sportsnet’s Mark Spector) on Hockey Night in Canada that the Edmonton Oilers have offered Holland a five-year contract at $5MM per year to be the Oilers General Manager.
Saturday, 3:33 p.m.: No decision is expected to be made until next week, but the Edmonton Oilers could be close to choosing their future general manager. In fact, with the franchise having recently narrowed their search to three candidates in Detroit Red Wings Senior Vice President Ken Holland, interim general manager Keith Gretzky and former Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant general manager Mark Hunter as their top candidates, The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell (subscription required) writes that it already looks like Holland has the inside track on the job.
Holland is expected to return from a trip overseas Saturday night, suggesting that negotiations might heat up soon. While just a few days ago the GM race was considered to be a “two-horse race” between Gretzky and Hunter, Sportsnet’s Marc Spector revealed one day later that the Oilers were going “all-in” on Holland. The question was whether Holland was interested in waiting for a potential general manager job opening in Seattle or would be willing to take over in Edmonton.
Holland is completing his 36th season in Detroit and his 22nd as general manager, but with Steve Yzerman taking over those duties, Holland could be looking for another GM position already. He certainly has a impressive resume, including three Stanley Cup Championships, four Presidents’ Trophies, and has seen his team reach 100-season points 13 times. Unfortunately, his recent resume hasn’t been as exemplary as he has continued to try to keep his franchise-winning teams in contention with questionable free-agent signings and only recently committed to rebuilding their salary-capped franchise. In fact, the Red Wings have finished with a worse record than the struggling Oilers franchise for several years now. Now 63 years old, many people wonder what Holland has done in the NHL lately and whether running a franchise has past him by.
The Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones writes that CEO Bob Nicholson is likely banking on the team hiring Holland, as the scribe believes that Nicholson isn’t enamored with the two other candidates. After two interviews already with Hunter, the fact that they haven’t hired him suggests that Nicholson isn’t comfortable hiring him, while Jones also adds that he doesn’t think Nicholson believes that Gretzky is an “A-list” hire. The belief is that if Holland takes the job, he would have full control of the franchise and that he would never have even begun talking to Nicholson if he wasn’t interested in being a general manager again.
Mitchell adds that if Holland does take over, he will likely bring in his own people into the front office. And while, he believes that there will be a place for Gretzky no matter what, Holland has stated that your need four or five key people in place to run a franchise. One interesting option if Holland does take over is who might become the team’s next head coach, suggesting that Holland has close connections to current Dallas Stars assistant coach Todd Nelson. Changes could also come quickly depending on Holland’s assessment of the Oilers’ core. That core of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse could be altered, considering he wasn’t the man to bring them in.